Lower Echo Canyon, Zion National Park, UT


(Middle) Echo Canyon is famous for holding snow in the "spring", which in Zion, can mean until July 1st, or even later. We had heard few reports for how the snow was this year, so Dave Buckingham and I (after cancelling a trip to North Wash due to the heat) decided to check out Middle Echo, rap down Lower Echo some distance and write down the ropes needed. With the addition of Bill Westerhoff (The Desert Nomad), we changed our objective to actually get to the end of Lower Echo. I rallied up 600 feet of 'scrap' 9mm static rope I had lying around, and we set off...

At the start of the Echo Chamber, nasty eroded piles

Last trip, we had anchored the first rappel off two bolts on a ledge downcanyon left, which provides a delightful overhanging rappel. It would, of course, also provide a not-delightful overhanging jug on the way out, so instead we fixed a rope off a tree here, providing an easy, short rappel in. We dashed downcanyon, fixing ropes and cutting to fit. About halfway down, Dave started feeling lightheaded and kinda sick, so he returned upcanyon to lounge for the rest of the day. Bill and I continued downcanyon (no photos on the way down).

Bill W on Rap #1

Bill W on Rap #1

Bill W on Rap #1

The last rap out the end is closed because it comes out over the very popular Weeping Rock Trail. Unfortunately. Which means instead of rapping 360 feet to the deck and shuttling into town for Fish Tacos and cervecas, we were looking at about 600' of awkward jugging. Oh my!

All too soon, time to get to work.

Jug #5 – short

Jug #11

Packed up, ready to head home


Dave hung out and waited for us - yeah Dave. A big help, with carrying all that rope out, and cheering us on when we got near the top. Here's Dave's story: "While hanging out at the top, three college-age kids wandered down and discovered the rope on the tree, the first rap. They were about to handline down the first rappel when the ranger showed up and discouraged them. Yes, they knew I was here, hanging out, but they did not ask me about the rope. Scaaaaaaary..."

Rope List for Lower Echo Disclaimers: This is the list from measuring the ropes. I added a little bit for shrinkage in drying, but maybe not enough. Some of the ropes we cut a little short, so add a few feet to each. You may choose different anchors that would need more rope. I may have messed up the order, but we were pretty careful about it. I KNOW I got the order messed up vis a vis the pictures, because the few places I can check, they do not coincide, but I do have a piece for every jug. In other words, take this as a "pretty close" list, but you will need to apply judgment to it, and should bring more rope than indicated. Anchors could change, or you could make different choices. In 3 places we did not use available bolted anchors because they put the ascender in a difficult position. In places, we fixed ropes on downclimbs that others might not do so and vice versa.

Rap #1 off little tree: About 30' (our piece was 47')

Rap #2: 35'

Rap #3 (handline?): 25'

Rap #4: 22'

Rap #5: low-angle-chute, pothole, short drop

75' total, 25' of which was webbing (shown as Jug #10)

Rap #6: 27'

Rap #7: 85' (shown as jug #9??)

Rap #8: 17'

Rap #9: 38'

Rap #10: 37'

Rap #11: 67'

Rap #12: 45'

Rap #13: 70'

Rap #14: 30' (estimated - we did not cut this one to length, but tried to extend it to the next (last) one. 30' should be plenty if you choose a good place for the anchor).

Rap #15: 30'

TOTAL: 633' of rope